Sunday evening’s (Jan. 29) Screen Actors Guild Awards were highly political and emotional with every winner shining a light on love, acceptance and understanding. Taraji P. Henson helped usher in waves of love while receiving The Screen Actors Guild Award for “Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture” for Hidden Figures.
During her touching speech, the actress paid tribute to Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, Mary Jackson, the African-American women who calculated the math that helped launched NASA’s first victorious space mission. “The shoulders of the women that we stand on are three American heroes,” she said as cast members Janelle Monàe and Octavia Spencer fought back tears. “Without them, we would not know how to reach the stars. This story is of unity.”
While it didn’t clean up at the Golden Globes, the film has been praised by theatergoers and took home several trophies from the Women Film Critics Circle and the African-American Film Critics Association. As the tears continued to flow, Henson expressed the sense of love over adversity. “This story is about what happens when we put our differences aside and we come together as a human race,” she said. “We win. Love wins. Every time.”
Several actors dedicated their speeches to solidarity for Muslim communities, immigrants and refugees affected by President Trump’s latest executive order. Winners like Viola Davis and Denzel Washington showed love to those who go unnoticed in literature and the entertainment industry. “What August did so beautifully is he honored the average man, who happened to be a man of color,” she said while accepting the award for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role.””And sometimes we don’t have to shape the world and move the world and create anything that is going to be in the history books. The fact that we breathed and live a life… and was a god to our children… just that, means that we have a story and it deserves to be told.”
Washington provided a long list of playwrights, producers and creatives that helped turn Fences, a reportedly seven-year project, into fruition. “I’m a God-fearing man, I’m supposed to have faith, but I didn’t have faith,” he said. “I’m getting choked up!” Expecting one of the “young boys” to win, Washington didn’t have a speech prepared for what would be his first SAG award in his illustrious career. Backstage, the actor also called for accountability in today’s cloudy and fearful political climate. “I think we as Americans had better learn to unite,” he said. “We have to put our elected officials’ feet to the fire. God only knows where it’s going.”
Let’s hope the Oscars shares the same love (and colorful wins).